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Dear Hungry Girl,

I need you to settle this once and for all:  What's better for you, sea salt or regular table salt?  Also, what's the best salt alternative?

-Salty Boy
Salty Boy,

Though sea salt has a reputation (thanks to clever marketing) for being healthier than regular table salt, the truth is, nutritionally speaking they're pretty much the same.  Both sea and table salts contain the same amounts of sodium.   As for the second part of your question, instead of salt, there's lots of other stuff you can use to jazz up your food instead of salt.  Spices can give a dish some kick without adding calories, fat, or sodium.  There are tons of different spices you can experiment with.  Garlic, onion powder, paprika, lemon peel, oregano, etc. are also great options.  Play around with them, and see what you like.  You can also try some pre-mixed salt free spice blends, like McCormick's Salt Free All Purpose Seasoning, or Mrs. Dash.  Just be sure not to confuse these with "salt substitutes."  Salt substitutes replace sodium chloride with potassium chloride, a substance which can be harmful to people with kidney problems or heart disease.  In fact, the labels on bottles of salt substitutes recommend that you consult a physician before using the product.  So be careful!

Dear Hungry Girl,

I've been eating A LOT of vegetables lately, and while people say that's a good thing, when I actually add up the calories, it adds more than 400 calories to my daily intake.  Those bags of broccoli have 10 servings in them, and I eat 3/4 of one with dinner every night.  Is it more important to eat the vegetables, or am I hindering my weight loss by eating so many veggies?

-Concerned Veggie-Eater
Dear Concerned,

Do NOT ditch the veggies.  Yes, they contain calories.  But not a lot of them.  And if you didn't eat those 3 cups of broccoli with dinner, you'd be eating something else (probably something more caloric) in its place.  For example, if you ate a big plate of pasta instead of a big plate of broccoli, you'd be consuming around 550 calories instead of the 100 or so calories you'd have gotten from the veggies.  Plus, vegetables have tons of fiber which makes you feel fuller, longer.  Besides, nothing you could eat would give you as many healthy antioxidants and vitamins as you're getting from all those greens.  You should also keep in mind that veggies are hard to digest, so you burn more calories in the process than you do with other foods.  Woo hoo!  Bottom line?  I guarantee that if you stop feasting on those vegetables, your daily calorie intake would go up.  Every time you think you're eating too many veggies, just think about what my friend Flora (the coolest Weight Watchers leader ever) says, "You're never gonna get fat from eating broccoli." And she's right.  That is, of course, unless it's drowned in butter and cheese...

Today, July 20th, is not only National Ice Cream Day, it's also National Lollipop Day.  Sounds like a perfect day to enjoy a 70-calorie Tootsie Orange Cream Pop!

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